Shiftier breeze and a change in the direction and design of the racecourse, in comparison to Tuesday, forced many competitors to shift gears for the second day of racing at Les Voiles de St. Barth and yielded a mixed bag of results for the event’s nine classes.
The fleet of 65 boats battled while navigating the rocky coast and its strong currents on courses, between 26 and 32 nautical miles, around the eastern side of the island.
“It was tough yesterday because the wind was very erratic, initially blowing between 15 and 17 knots and then dropping off to around eight and ten knots,” said Hervé Hejoaka who helms Crédit Mutuel, which dropped from second to third place in CSA 4. An event veteran, the team won its class here last year.
For fellow 2016 class winner Sergio Sagramoso’s Lazy Dog, yesterday had the opposite effect in CSA 2, with the Melges 32 moving up from second to first place after racing. However, fellow competitor Sir Richard Matthews’ Oystercatcher XXX1 took a hit, replacing its second place position with a fourth in CSA 2.
For the Maxi 1 Class, Proteus may still hold the lead but the deck has been shuffled for the line-up of competitors that follows, due in part to Hap Fauth’s Bella Mente being over the line early at the start. At Les Voiles de St. Barth, there is no option to go back to the line and restart; instead, 10% of your time upon finishing is added to the final score. Bella Mente continued on to sail a fantastic race yesterday, taking first place on corrected time, but due to the mishap they were pushed down to sixth place in the race and fourth place overall. SFS and Prospector climbed up to second and third place, respectively.
“ We sailed a good race,” said Bella Mente Tactician Terry Hutchinson. “It was our own mistake, nobody forced it, but we are quite happy with how the race played out. We did what we wanted to do. We just swung and missed at the start.”
In addition to Proteus, six competitors are still holding on to their class leads after Wednesday, including Kenneth Howery’s Fortunata in CSA 1. Unlike many of the other teams, Fortunata Tactician Tommaso Chieffi felt that today was comprised of smooth sailing and agreeable conditions.
“For us, it was fairly straightforward with no big changes in wind direction and wind strength,” said Chieffi, a world-class Italian sailor known for his Olympic and America’s Cup campaigns. Acquired just last year, Fortunata is the fifth of only 25 Solaris 50 yachts in the world, and Les Voiles de St. Barth marks the team’s second event competing onboard her.
The official “Day Off” is scheduled for today (Thursday), followed by the final two days of racing, Friday, April 14 and Saturday, April 15.